Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Cover image for Vol. 122 Issue 10

Impact Factor: 3.395

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2016: 34/188 (Geosciences Multidisciplinary); 57/229 (Environmental Sciences)

Online ISSN: 2169-8961

Associated Title(s): Journal of Geophysical Research

Everglades restoration could decrease carbon sink potential

Starting more than a century ago, and ramping up to a massive scale in the 1950s, canal building and drainage projects in the Florida Everglades steadily degraded the sprawling wetland ecosystem. In the coming years, a massive 30-year multibillion-dollar restoration program is set to naturalize the Florida Everglades, returning the drained land to a closer approximation of its original structure. Restoring the Everglades, however, will have consequent effects on wetland dynamics, as plants and soil processes adjust to the changing water levels. Using eddy covariance measurements of surface-atmosphere gas exchange, Jimenez et al. (2012) tracked the roles of two different types of Everglades wetlands in the regional carbon cycle. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that, contrary to previous research, restoring the Everglades will likely diminish the potential of the region to serve as a carbon sink. The authors studied two different types of wetlands, peat and marl, using half hourly measurements from 2008 to 2009. The peatland region, Shark River Slough, was submerged for 16 of 18 months for which reliable observation could be obtained. The marl site, Taylor Slough, was inundated only half of the time. The authors found that during 2008, the peatland site was a weak net carbon source, emitting 19.9 g of carbon per square meter. In 2009, this value jumped to 80.0. The marl site, on the other hand, was in 2008 a net carbon sink, drawing 78.8 g of carbon from the atmosphere per square meter. In 2009, the marl site was neutral. Analyzing the relationship between net ecosystem exchange and various environmental parameters, the authors found that the air temperature and water table depth were the most important factors affecting carbon exchange, with the two types of wetlands having opposite reactions to shifts in each.

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